Novak Djokovic: Here To Stay, Here To Rule
Two hours and 28 minutes. Wimbledon hailed a new champion on the green lawns of Centre Court. The 24 year old tennis ace from Serbia, watched on by the Serbian President, defied all odds to stun the defending champion Rafael Nadal in his first ever Wimbledon final. He squatted on the green grass and plucked some of those and put into his mouth- to taste the victory literally. The world might not have borrowed the mathematics behind the ATP rankings had he succumbed to Nadal on the big occasion. But simply put, he forgot to choke. Clinching the 125th Wimbledon Championships title, Novak Djokovic has become the 25th player to grab the top spot and the first one to scale the height following a Wimbledon victory. For the first time since 2004, it will be neither Roger Federer nor Rafael Nadal at the top on Monday when the rankings are released.
He wasn’t supposedly the man to win the thing. No.1 vs No2- looked good on paper before the final and held the promise to be a titanic showdown between the best two players at the moment- one with the Australian Open trophy in his cabinet and the other- winner of Roland Garros. The final could not have been any closer. But it hardly lived up to the hype. The “underdog” didn’t let the match be a classic. The to be crowned No.1 played like one, one of his best matches on grass to realise the dream of his life turning into reality.
The 6-4,6-1,1-6,6-3 triumph was not just a victory, it was a dream that had attained the wings of reality. It was a statement by Djokovic- “ I am not a single streak wonder, I am here to stay.” The eight year old Roger-Rafa stronghold at The All England Club was destined to end on Sunday at the hands of this Serb. Though the 2008 final, which signaled the beginning of Nadal’s domination era, ranked much higher in intensity, the shout of Djokovic’s achievement proved louder to mark a profound change in the men’s tennis. Nadal found himself in Federer’s shoes when the same question was raised again-” How can you claim to be the best in the game when you are not the best in your era?”
Djokovic ripped winners from all over the court and the man, who was known for his defensive abilities, was suddenly reduced to a mere spectator before the Serb’s incredible ability to retrieve the ball. The man with a “tungsten-like” mental toughness found himself rattled and subdued thanks to a barrage of winners from the other side that he had no answers to. Djokovic, 11 months younger than his opponent, was simply a step quicker and a decision ahead. The increased flexibility in his movement, the most effective weapon he has added in his armory, proved lethal against the Spaniard. The 20 match winning streak of the Spaniard here was broken by someone who is not known as Roger Federer.
And finally, he earned the Wimbledon. He earned the top spot. He lived his dream with a pride of being the best in the world. And why not? He has won two of the last three Grand Slams, registered 49 wins and suffered a lone loss, won eight of his last ten encounters with Rafael Nadal-five in this season. As the tour moves to the American hard court season, which is considered as Novak’s strongest surface, he is definitely not going to rest on the double laurel. With his dream realised, he will be beaming with confidence and setting his sights on renewing his rivalry with the defending champion, Rafael Nadal at the Flushing Meadows. Who knows, after two final appearances, this might be the time for Nole?